A former top economic adviser to President Obama checked under the hood on the April inflation data released yesterday, and he's concerned about what he sees. Jason Furman started his analysis by comparing the headlines from major newspapers, noting that all three are accurate, though they paint slightly different pictures. Emphasis is everything:
WSJ: "U.S. Inflation Eased In April to 8.3% Annual Rate"— Jason Furman (@jasonfurman) May 11, 2022
NYT: "Consumer Prices Are Still Rising Rapidly"
WP: "Inflation Edged Down in April compared to previous month, but remains high, data shows"
All true! pic.twitter.com/359d4T1W8P
He notes that while the overall number looks like it eased, so-called 'core' inflation ran hotter last month, which he says is a serious red flag:
Yes, the 12-month change in inflation peaked. But core inflation at 7.0% annual rate in April was faster than the 6.5% annual rate in the previous twelve months. Not a lot of comfort in that number.— Jason Furman (@jasonfurman) May 11, 2022
Another key point about why he envisions pretty rough inflation through the remainder of this year, based on the data:
A big part of why inflation is likely to continue to run hot this year is that shelter is 32% of the overall CPI and 41% of the core CPI. If every other price was flat we would still be at 2% inflation just from shelter increases. pic.twitter.com/XSipTSz6uR— Jason Furman (@jasonfurman) May 11, 2022
He adds that "the inflation story to worry about" is "core services inflation," which has "increased for four straight months." He points out that core US inflation remains roughly double core [European] inflation' -- and "real average hourly earnings fell a little further in April" in the US. This ongoing slide, he continues, is "the fastest decline in 40 years." The Washington Post's Heather Long contributes her bottom lines on the April numbers:
This is worrying: So-called "core" inflation (which excludes food and energy) rose more than expected in April.— Heather Long (@byHeatherLong) May 11, 2022
This is yet another sign that inflation is spreading throughout the economy. It's not just a gas and used car story. https://t.co/dpwLFRarq0
The big picture on inflation: It's going to remain painfully high for awhile.— Heather Long (@byHeatherLong) May 11, 2022
Good news: Gas prices and used car prices declined in April.
Not good news: Gas prices are back at record highs now
And...food costs, new vehicle costs, shelter and medical expenses keep rising pic.twitter.com/z7QzhLji5V
"Painfully high for awhile" is not music to Democrats' ears less than six months out from an election, especially as they're perhaps realizing that the electorate may not share their abortion zealotry the way they were expecting. I'll remind you that the White House recently suggested that nobody could have envisioned or predicted the acute inflation we are experiencing, yet many people have responded that a top Democratic economist did precisely that in early 2021. Meanwhile, an adrift President Biden engaged in a blamefest on Tuesday, refusing to take any responsibility for America's inflation crisis. This was quite a line:
REPORTER: "Do you take any responsibility for the inflation in this country?"— Townhall.com (@townhallcom) May 10, 2022
BIDEN: "I think our policies help, not hurt." pic.twitter.com/7NkAPikUyN
Not only do voters not believe that's true (polls show that Americans correctly blame Biden policies as one of the drivers of the problem), some of his own party's experts also reject the premise. We recently told you about another prominent Obama alumnus who pointed to the Democrats' strictly partisan $2 trillion spending binge early in Biden's presidency as an inflationary policy error of historic proportions. For my overall reaction to Biden's weak, predictable, tendentious, and thoroughly unpersuasive inflation speech earlier in the week, watch this. Meanwhile with inflation raging, what are Senate Democrats up to this week? Trying and failing to pass a barbaric abortion law, and endorsing the doxxing and harassment of Supreme Court justices at their homes:
(To clarify, Casey is not up this cycle & he’s not one of the vulnerable incumbents — Warnock, Kelly, Hassan, Cortez-Masto — to whom I was referring. But he very much is a “pro-life” fraud. I don’t see how he voted for the 20 week ban but then advances this ugliness).— Guy Benson (@guypbenson) May 11, 2022
Q: Are you comfortable with the protests that we saw outside the homes of Supreme Court justices?— Michael McAuliff (@mmcauliff) May 10, 2022
Schumer: Yes. my house, there's protests 3, 4 times a week outside.. That's the American way to peacefully protest.. [his phone rings].. that's my wife. Maybe there's a protest."
Do the top two Senate Democrats talk much?
Senate Democratic whip Dick Durbin, who condemned these protests as “reprehensible” today, tells me he has “never heard of” this law. https://t.co/iyZSU0wfYE— John McCormack (@McCormackJohn) May 11, 2022